7 Important Functions of Vitamin B-12

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A woman is walking in a sunny field. Healthy energy and mood improvement are one of the several functions of Vitamin B-12.It’s estimated nearly 40% of the American population suffers from B12 levels that are too low. [1] With low B12 levels, your brain doesn’t work quite right and more often than not you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. But vitamin B12 does more than just support healthy energy levels. Its multiplexity of functionality is mirrored in its wide range of health benefits. The question is, are you getting enough?

The Seven Most Important Functions of Vitamin B12

Many people receive vitamin B12 injections on a regular basis to provide a boost in their energy levels. While it’s true that B12 does support energy, that’s not the entire picture. Here’s 7 functions of vitamin B12 and why you need this crucial nutrient.

1. Supports Energy

Vitamin B12 plays a key role in how your body creates energy. It keeps your cells fed, happy, and healthy. Without it, your cells get hungry and you feel weak, tired, and like you’re dragging all the time. The nutrient releases energy into the cell and provides you with the appropriate balance you need for thinking and moving throughout your day.

2. Protects the Heart

Your heart and entire cardiovascular system needs B12. One of its jobs is to remove a dangerous protein called homocysteine from the blood. If homocysteine is allowed to roam through blood, it damages your arteries leading to inflammation and heart disease. Get enough B12 and you’ll keep homocysteine levels down and your heart happy.

3. Your Bones Need It

Studies have found patients with osteoporosis have higher levels of homocysteine and low levels of B12 than people with strong, healthy bones. [2] Could B12 be a viable adjunct to future osteoporosis approaches? If you suffer from osteoporosis or similar bone issues, speak to your doctor about getting your vitamin B12 levels tested.

4. Prevents Nerve Damage

Your nerves have a protective covering to keep them safe from toxins and free radicals in your blood. Without these coverings, called myelin sheaths, exposed nerves get damaged and may even die. These dead nerves disrupt signals to and from the brain and may play a role in nerve-related conditions. Vitamin B12 supports the way your body replenishes this protective covering.

5. Improves Mood and Outlook

Your brain uses a chemical called serotonin to regulate your mood. If you aren’t getting enough B12, you may find yourself feeling down. One study of diabetic patients experiencing side effects of depression from Metformin found those who took B12 enjoyed a more positive outlook. [3]

6. Protects Brain Health

Researchers have noted Alzheimer’s patients have much lower levels of B12 than those of a similar age who have sharp, clear memory. In the same way B12 helps protect nerve cells, it helps protect the myelin sheaths of brain cells that are often lacking in Alzheimer’s patients. Some research suggests that cobalamin deficiency may cause a type of dementia in elderly patients that is in fact reversible with the right nutritional intervention. [4]

7. Keeps You Looking and Feeling Young

Aging happens when your cells begin to wear and tear, and they age faster when your DNA doesn’t replicate correctly. Many factors can affect DNA replication, like free radicals, toxins in the blood, high blood sugar, and high levels of omega-6 fats in your diet. B12 supports DNA health, thereby keeping your cells younger. And when your cells are young, you look and feel young too.

Do you take vitamin B12? What difference has it made in your life? Share your experiences below!

Watch an In-Depth Video on
Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin B-12
References (4)
  1. Judy McBride. B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought. United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. Ebesunun MO, Umahoin KO, Alonge TO, Adebusoye LA. Plasma homocysteine, B vitamins and bone mineral density in osteoporosis: a possible risk for bone fracture. Afr J Med Med Sci. 2014 Mar;43(1):41-7.
  3. Biemans E1, Hart HE, Rutten GE, Cuellar Renteria VG, Kooijman-Buiting AM, Beulens JW. Cobalamin status and its relation with depression, cognition and neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus using metformin. Acta Diabetol. 2014 Oct 15.
  4. Osimani A, Berger A, Friedman J, Porat-Katz BS, Abarbanel JM. Neuropsychology of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly demential patients and control subjects. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2005 Mar;18(1):33-8.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Fram60

    Dr. Group, my understanding is that B12 is made in the body using bacteria, or in some way needs a bacteria to be created. Can you expand on this? Also, does antibiotics in animal feed affect B12 in these animals and therefore in people? Thank you.

  • Raymond

    I have been taking B 12 for the past 11 yrs. I have never missed one day in all that time. I am now 78 yr and I certainly do not feel that age as I should do . I have a check up one a year and my Doc say’s I am fitter than him. I tell him he should see a doctor. I still work 7 day week.

    So if it is the B 12 that has kept me going I will continue until I close my eyes for good. Thank you B12

  • There’s some ideas out there about that, yes. What you described reminds me of what Dr. Brian Clement said in this video.

  • Hans de Rycke

    I am a 76 year old non-dairy vegetarian and have never taken B12. An allergist found me allergic to dairy products in all its forms, raw, organic, pasteurised etc, and potatoes. I deleted dairy products and potatoes from my diet and have never felt better. The brain triggers the release of B12 from the gut wall, but only if it recognises the food you are eating. In an allergic response the brain triggers the immune system instead of the digestive system. No digestion take place during an immune response. This includes the release of B12, of course!

  • Maynard

    How much to take?

  • If you’re taking Vegansafe B12, it comes out to be 2,500 mcg/day.


    I would suggest taking natural form of vitamin B12, Methylcobalamin, because it’s safer than a toxin form of B12 vitamin, Cyanocobalamin.

  • Natalie

    on the intrinsic factor does that replenish itself it has been damaged? Or gone for good?

  • GHC Support

    Hi, Natalie. Thank you for contacting us. Although
    we’re unaware if intrinsic factor can be replenished, it may be impacted long-term by age, diet, infections such as H. pylori, or even gastric bypass surgery. In these delicate cases, it is suggested to consult a reputable doctor or naturopath to discuss the best B-12 supplementation for you. Since intrinsic factor is necessary for B-12 absorption, you may consider a sublingual formula like VeganSafe B-12; however, if this
    is not sufficient, then B-12 injections may be an alternative option. For your convenience, you may find a naturopath near you at the following link: http://www.naturopathic.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp?version=2.

  • Charles Booth

    I am 69. I have suffered from painful IBS episodes one or twice a week for over 30 years until I learned how to control the episodes by excluding certain foods from my diet. But over the last 20 years I have suffered from fatigue, anxiety and depression. I started a weight loss diet with 10000mcu of b12 a day under tongue. By the second day I felt better mentally and physically. I read up on b12 and added B complex every day. 1 month now and I feel great, plenty of energy, my attitude is good and my muscle and back pain are way down. I think the IBS damaged my ilium so that I could not absorb b12 and folic acid. You overcome it by taking these massive doses. Haven’t lost any weight but who cares! See your Dr. If you have similar problems!

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